Interview: At home with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

As 'LLB' joins This Morning as resident interior designer, we catch up with the eloquent creative to take a look inside his Cotswold home, talk latest trends and find out why he puts Aubrey Beardsley and Nicky Haslam on a pedestal...

We love your latest book DECORATING With Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, which explores all aspects of home decoration and has clever advice on revamping and renewing a home. What other exciting projects have been taking up your time this year?

I’m working with ITV's This Morning as their resident interior designer to offer ideas for summer garden entertaining. With more people holidaying at home, I think it’s important to get the best from your garden. I’ve created looks for a "floral tea party", "festival at home", "children's magical adventure" and "Arabian nights", which are being aired every Monday.

Anywhere else we can expect to see your work in practice?

I'm currently filming the third series of House Gift for ITV1 and it's taken me to Cornwall, Blackpool, Wales – all around the UK. I'm trying to find the most interesting places to shop to find the right kind of rewards for your home.

You trained as a fine artist so how interior designing come about?

I think you're born with a desire to impose a bit of personality into your surroundings - it's all about marking your environment. I was trained as a fine artist at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, but when I was asked to do interior work I ended up designing professionally. I worked for Bella Figura on the Fulham Road and was asked to dress the interior of the shop and it continued from there...

What was it like working with the Royal Academy of Arts on its Summer Exhibition? Any plans to work with them again?

For me it was a real sense of coming home. As I had classical art training,  it was great to be chatting to a Royal Academician who had actually taught me at college 20 years previously! House Gift is very much about the history of design as well as what you can buy on the high street – for example, I was interviewing Meg Matthews yesterday and talking about rock and roll design and how this has influenced things. When you go into any high street store and look at the latest designs they undoubtedly have a strong relationship with the past.

Would you say art inspires your work?

So much of design springs very directly from art - we're going into a phase where pattern is becoming more, rather than less, artistic.  What I've always disliked in the past are computer generated patterns  - I think that's wrong. Pattern needs to have the specific DNA of its creative – I like to see its brushmarks and rustic edges. It might be a standard lampshade or wallpaper, but why shouldn’t it have an original mark?

Who’s your favourite artist?

Aubrey Beardsley's influence is all around us in pattern making today. Just as important as say someone like Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

What inspired your paint and wallpaper range for Graham & Brown?

Fashion is key - I like the idea of dressing a room as you would dress yourself. Women are currently wearing a lot of purple, grey and black and this is echoed in the most popular paint and paper designs - Plummy Accent, Matinee Grey and Cat Black do very well. Love Letter and Shantung are key designs too. Chantilly is a kind of romantic nod to my relationship, echoing the pattern of swans and peacocks who mate for life.

Laurence's home in The Cotswolds

Who inspires you?

Nicky Haslam is a great colourist and has become the focusing lens for so much of the taste of the last few decades - he has a great way of editing the 20th century - people should use this a spring board for 21st century design.

Country or city?

My home in The Cotswolds with my wife Jackie and our children Cecile and Hermione and our spaniels and cats is very much home.

Describe your home’s style?

The style we have at home is a reflection of our family personality - that's how an interior should be and not something bought off the shelf. Some people say my work is historically influenced and others say it's very modern, but I'm not keen on defining myself.

Laurence's flamboyant bedroom.

Spring greens create a distinctive look in Laurence's kitchen.

Deep reds make for a striking look in Laurence's sitting room.

What interiors trend should we look out for this summer?

Beige is boring and light sapping. Grey is the new beige and colour is back. A pale grey will bounce the light and is the perfect background for pinks, jades and purples.

What’s your top decorating tip for our readers?

It’s always a mistake to push interesting accents and furniture to the edges of a room - you should focus on the centre of a space and everything will flow from there.

For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at achica.

Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor

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